War Thunder Versus

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War Thunder’s upcoming Knights of the Sea mode looks set to give naval warfare its proper place in the triumvirate of battlegrounds most commonly referred to as land, sea and air. Part of The Complete Beginner’s Guide. There are no terrible choices when it comes to picking a country to play in War Thunder, each one has strengths and weaknesses.If you’re feeling patriotic you can go for your own nation (if it’s in the game) or if you have a particular favourite aircraft then go for the appropriate country and work up to it (or enjoy it right away, if you happen to. War Thunder is a more realistic and intense game that also involves longer games. What I love about War Thunder is the removal of the HP bar, no RNG and having to use the right shell for the right situation whereas in WoT the only thing that matters is penetration and damage.

If you are a WWII buff or have any interest in tanks, you’ve probably heard about World of Tanks and War Thunder. Both are popular war games that include massive multiplayer tank warfare and both are based on a free-to-play model which includes microtransactions.

If you looking to enter the tank MMO arena, chances are you are considering these two games. While both games seem to offer a way to scratch your tank itch, they are intended for very different audiences. So before you sink hours only to realize that the game is not for you, read away…

Both are (cough…) Free-to-Play

Let’s start with the biggest negative, one they almost share. While both games are free-to-play, it often feels they are pay-to-win to not paying players. Sure, if you are patient and don’t mind the grind, you can be a free player. But many players will just give up after 100 or so hours and either leave the game or open their wallet. The good side is that you do get a decent amount of time to decide if you like the game enough to pay.

War Thunder Versus

The publishers of both games are called out for their shady business practices, absurd fees, not listening to their player base, increasing the grind to force players to reach for their wallets, and just generally trying to outdo EA. To be fair, the situation is slightly worse in War Thunder with Russian publisher Gaijin. They have a more dedicated audience, which they can abuse to a higher extent without the players actually throwing the towel.

What is Different?

War Thunder Versus World Of Tanks

Both games are often excellent and get many things right. However, in concept, they are different war games. War Thunder tries to be a simulation of real-world warfare with real historical vehicles, while World of Tanks has more of an arcade style that focuses on the action. One offers players a place to lose oneself researching tank armor, propulsion and ballistics, while the other promises fun and fast combat in a world you can easily jump in and out of.

This difference in game concepts bring about the most significant difference between the two – the damage model. War Thunder has a complex and quite realistic damage modelling, simulating the inside of a tank and trying to calculate the damage shrapnel and explosion do to tank and crew.

World of Tanks model is far less complex and very much arcade style. Each tank has a pool of hit points and each shell is a single mass. While there is a rudimentary model of tank internals, destroying a target is a case of whittling down a hit points bar. Sure, the model is unrealistic, but fixed HP is a proven formula in video games and means one unlucky shot doesn’t kill you.

To compensate this, there is a lives system in War Thunder, where you can take three tanks in an arcade battle, so one unfortunate shot isn’t match-ruining.

Artillery vs Aircraft

The other notable difference is the use of artillery in World of Tanks vs aircraft and ships in War Thunder. War Thunder is a much bigger game in that it allows for air and sea battles besides tanks. You have supersonic fighter-bombers, interceptors, helicopters, air-to-air missiles and more. World of Tanks is a more streamlined game that focuses on ground battles, specifically tanks and artillery.

However, that doesn’t mean that World of Tanks is the better pure-tank game. When comparing tank battles specifically, for me artillery affects matches much more than aircraft do. You also find much more people complaining about it in the forums.

Which One is For You?

Both can be excellent games and it depends on what you are looking for in a game. World of Tanks offers ease of use and a more tolerant gameplay mechanics, but can feel like a peak-a-boo shoot-first arcade. If you want realism, War Thunder is unquestionably the better simulator, however that is also its flaw – it can be less accessible than World of Tanks.

War Thunder Versus World Of Tanks

World of Tanks is for you IF:

  • you don’t try to save all NPCs in your RPGs;
  • you are not looking to commit a significant portion of your time to a game;
  • you find the constant need to pay attention to be any good overwhelming;
  • you are simply looking for fun, 10-15-minute tank death-matches in a WWII theme.

War Thunder is for you IF:

  • you are reading every book in your RPGs;
  • you know every tank and general in WWII;
  • you are looking forward to spend HOURS finding documents, conducting research and learning about the intricacies of tank warfare;
  • you are looking for longer battles where you constantly look all around, in and out of binoculars, considering, worrying…

Unfortunately, there is no other game on the market besides War Thunder that offers such a mix of realistic war game with tanks, aircraft and ships. I say unfortunately, because some competition would put Gaijin in check and make the game even better.


Part of The Complete Beginner’s Guide

There are no terrible choices when it comes to picking a country to play in War Thunder, each one has strengths and weaknesses. If you’re feeling patriotic you can go for your own nation (if it’s in the game) or if you have a particular favourite aircraft then go for the appropriate country and work up to it (or enjoy it right away, if you happen to be especially keen on the P-26 Peashooter). It’s not as if you have to religiously stick to playing one country either, playing two or three (or all five) countries is good for mixing up play styles to keep things fresh, learning about the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of planes, and allowing aircraft of one nation to repair over time while playing another. The following only covers aircraft, I’m afraid I haven’t really been keeping up with the relative strengths of tanks.


If you have no strong preference then starting off with the Soviet Union isn’t a bad idea; you get a bonus premium aircraft for the first country you fly with, and the I-153 that the USSR get is a great plane, very handy to be able to put straight into service without having to research and unlock it. The Soviet tech tree is extensive, with a couple of decent lines of fighters and good jet options in the end game with the MiG-17 fighter and Il-28 bomber. They have a wide range of light bombers/ground attackers, including the iconic Il-2 Sturmovik, and both medium and heavy bomber options. About the only area they’re really lacking are heavy fighters, the Pe-3 series are pretty lacklustre, but the Yak-9T/K with 37mm and 45mm cannon respectively are brutally effective against bombers.

The UK

Britain is another good option for starting players, with some excellent fighters once you get past the biplanes. The Hurricanes are an early workhorse, Spitfires are highly manoeuvrable and well suited to turning dogfights (except against the Japanese) and the Typhoons and Tempests have good speed and firepower. Their jets struggled a little at the top end when only the Meteor was available, but the Venom and Hunter are more powerful post-war options. For bombing the Blenheim and Beaufort are fine in Rank I, but things tail off a bit with the Wellingtons in Ranks II and III, which are rather vulnerable to the cannon-packing fighters they almost invariably come up against, then pick up again with the two Lancasters that, thanks to Update 1.43, can now carry some of the heaviest bomb loads in the game as they did historically, and the Canberra jet bomber. You also have plenty of torpedo bombing options, starting very early with the venerable Swordfish, but without being able to specifically choose maps featuring shipping targets it’s a roll of the dice as to whether you can actually use them – at least until naval battles might be an option!

War Thunder Versus World Of Warships


War Thunder Vs World Of Tanks

The USA takes a little while to get going. In Arcade mode particularly the favoured US armament of .50 calibre machine guns are at a bit of a disadvantage once everyone else is tooling up with 20mm cannons; though .50s certainly can be effective, especially with later incendiary rounds, you’ll generally need to get more hits in to bring something down, increasing the likelihood of someone else “helpfully” swooping in on your target. The 37mm cannon of the P-39/63s perhaps overcompensates, though, it’s devastating when it hits, but the slow rate of fire and high recoil makes it a little trickier to use, better suited to bomber hunting than fast moving dogfights. The USA have some strong later fighters, and a good selection of jets including several F-86 Sabre variants at the top of the tree. They’re a sound choice for heavy bombers with three B-17 variants and the B-24, sacrificing bomb load compared to the British Lancasters for more defensive turrets, then the B-29 with the largest bombloads in the game, though it’ll take a while to get up to mid-Rank III to start researching them; along the way the A-20 and B-25 are decent medium bomber/attackers with plenty of machine guns for strafing. The F6F and P-47 fighters are also notable for the quantity of ordnance they can carry for ground attack if you like a fighter/bomber role.


Germany also has strong fighters in the mid-to-late game, but their Rank I options tend to be sluggish, lightly armed or Italian (in some cases, all three); I’d suggest getting the hang of the game with other countries first. Things pick up markedly in Rank II with the introduction of the Bf 109 and Fw 190 series, and they also have the widest range of rocket and jet fighters. Initially there’s a selection from World War II (the Me 163, Me 262, He 162 and Ho 229 “flying wing”) which are in a slightly awkward place for matchmaking, where they outperform Allied propeller-driven contemporaries but are inferior to post-war Soviet and US jets, so to give Germany a viable end-game option Update 1.39 added both a Canadian-built Sabre and a MiG-15, as operated by the West and East German air forces respectively in the late 1950s. Germany also has a good range of heavy fighters from the Bf 110 to the Me 410s, and plenty of early bombing options with numerous variants of the Ju 87 Stuka for dive bombing, and the He 111, Ju 88 and Italian S.79 series of medium bombers. There aren’t any heavy bombers later on, though the Do 217 series of medium bombers can carry pretty heavy loads once upgraded and deliver them with precision in a dive; at the top of the tree the Ar 234, the first operational jet bomber, has its historical advantage of speed somewhat negated, as it usually faces jet opposition.


Japan has the most agile fighters in the game with the nimble Ki-43 and the A6M Zero line, though they are a bit fragile. The later Ki-84 and N1K are good all-rounders, and there are also heavier options with the big-cannon packing Ki-45 and -102 heavy fighters, handy for taking down enemy bombers. Bombing-wise the H6K is quite a fun early bomber to start with, it carries a large payload for a Rank 1 aircraft, can absorb a lot of incoming fire (especially from small calibre machine guns) and has plenty of turrets including a 20mm cannon to ward off attackers; the downside is that handles like a boat with wings, probably because it *is* a boat with wings. Going up the tree the later bomber line is a little lacking in terms of payload, but turrets with 20mm cannon at least give them a bit of a defensive option. The Japanese tree is a little sparse, the smallest in the game, and Rank V has to be padded out somewhat with prototypes and experimental designs due to the lack of competitive late-war historical aircraft, though at least Update 1.39 gave them a viable end-game option in the form of another Sabre that saw post-war service.